September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Call for Proposals-California Science Education Conference October 25-27, 2013 Palm Springs: We need you to be a part of this, it’s all about the connections!

Posted: Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Dear Teachers,

I return from the 2012 California Science Education Conference excited, refreshed and especially eager to share what I have learned and try new things with my students. In the closing keynote, biofuels pioneer Josh Tickell noted one of the big changes in worldwide culture is that we are becoming more interconnected. The conference is a key place where science teachers can connect with each other and with new developments in science, and then go back to their schools to connect to students and fellow teachers. But, it only works if you share what you have to offer.

Every one of you has some great things to bring to the wider community of science teachers. Please consider presenting at the 2013 conference in Palm Springs and adding to our web of connection. A presentation could be an hour-long workshop, or a three-hour short course and we are also considering possible field trips in the Palm Springs area, so if you can guide a great trip, let us know by leaving a comment below.

The conference committee will also be looking for other avenues for the connecting of ideas. We need presentations for teachers from kindergarten through college level, and in all science subjects. We need practical teaching ideas, great labs, geeky science content, ideas to implement common core standards, looks ahead to the NGSS, inspiration, and hard-nosed reality checks. We need sessions for teachers, administrators and those who teach in informal settings. Please think about what you do that is great, and make a proposal to present in sunny Palm Springs!

Yours truly,

Peter A’Hearn
2013 California Science Education Conference Co-Chair

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

4 Responses

  1. Peter:

    I am very interested in sending in a proposal for the 2013 conference in Palm Springs.
    Please send me the link to fill our the form. Thanks.

    Dennis Goodwin

  2. Dear Dennis,

    The links are in the article above, look for the blue text.

    Workshop Proposal:
    Short Course Proposal:

  3. I would love to present for CSTA. I have done so in the past both for CSTA and NSTA. The question is whether LAUSD will release me to do so if it is a weekday? If I can arrange a Saturday or Sunday workshop date, I would be glad to send in a proposal. Linda Hoffman

  4. Dear Linda,
    We know that this is an issue for many teachers. You can indicate on your proposal that you are only available to present on the weekend.

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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw


This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.